(WXYZ) – Pizza is a delicious universal Italian dish and one of America’s favorite foods – but is it healthy or unhealthy?
I don’t think there are too many people who think pizza is healthy, but it all depends on the ingredients.
On the pro side, cheese provides calcium and tomatoes provide lycopene. Lycopene plays a role in preventing chronic diseases. Loading your pie with vegetables or fruit toppings like pineapple adds vitamins and minerals. And if the crust is made of whole-wheat flour, then you score health points due to the fiber which gets digested slower and keep you fuller longer.
When you add on toppings like extra cheese and processed meats like pepperoni, bacon or sausage, you increase not only the calories, but saturated fat and sodium too.
That’s when a healthy dish turns into a nutritional nightmare. For example a large slice of a vegetable thin crust pizza runs around 240 calories, 4 grams of fat and 710 milligram of sodium. Compare that to a meat lovers slice where you get 480 calories, 10 grams of fat and 1,180 milligrams of sodium. So the topping and crust you chose strongly dictate whether that pizza is healthy or not.
1. Try making pizza at home. We do! Chose healthier ingredients like whole grain pizza dough, part-skim or low-fat mozzarella cheese and low-sodium or no-salt tomato sauce. and Make it fun!
2. Load your pizza with lots of colorful vegetables. They’ll help fill you up without the added fat and high sodium count.
3. If you order pizza, ask for half the cheese, a thin crust and try grilled chicken instead of processed meats. Add a side salad to up the nutritional value of your meal.
4. If you buy frozen pizza, check the ingredient label and the nutritional values. Prepackaged foods often contain high sodium levels and look for trans fats too.
A recent study found kids who eat pizza not only had higher daily calorie intake, but higher saturated fat and sodium too. Pizza from fast-food restaurants had the greatest calorie impact so as I said earlier, try making pizza at home the healthier way and make sure to serve it with fruit and veggie side dishes.
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